Monday, January 29, 2007

Legally Blonde Colon The Musical

[We interrupt your regularly scheduled program of reviewing books to review a musical instead. I’m sorry, I just need to get it out so that I can move on.]

Oh god. Okay, the good news is, most of the cast is great. Laura Bell Bundy, who plays Elle Woods and who also played Glinda in Wicked, is particularly fabulous. She’s a perfect Elle Woods (and was probably a perfect Glinda, too). The only off-note in the cast is Paulette, played by a woman named simply Orfeh, whose accent is less Boston and more Jersey; she’s not nearly as charming as Jennifer Coolidge in the film—and way more abrasive. There is a real dog who plays Bruiser and although Bruiser totally disappears in Act Two, he is cute and integrated well in the first act. The staging, lighting, sets, and costumes are all excellent and fun. The opening number (“Ohmigod, you guys”) is cheesy, obviously, but cute and catchy. I was optimistic. I was not expecting profundity.

However.

In one way, it’s difficult to identify the low point. Is it the sorority sisters-turned-“Greek chorus” who pop up at inexplicable times, once dressed as clowns? Is it the incredibly stupid marching band number (total missed opportunity there)? Is it the series of man-hating butch lesbian jokes? Is it Legally Blonde: The Ballad? The simply horrible song about sharks? The totally embarrassing “I see dead people” joke? What is that joke, TEN YEARS OLD? It is hard to choose.

And yet, in another way, it is very, very easy to identify the low point. Try this one on for size. Paulette sings a ballad—for no reason I can discern—about going to Ireland. It is called “Ireland.” That is Exhibit A. And Exhibit B comes later, when she hooks up with the UPS guy, and finds out he is Irish (which, again, what?) and they slowly start to do a love-jig dramatically around the stage and then the entire cast comes out and DOES THIS INANE RIVERDANCE NUMBER I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. Elle is marching around waving a miniature American flag even smaller than the sad little “Red, White, and Blaine” flags in Waiting for Guffman, only I do not think it is supposed to be funny. I felt so much embarrassment for those involved, including and especially myself, that I had to cover my face with my hands.

I could have totally forgiven all of the above—except maybe the cheap shot lesbian jokes—if the music had been good. Pile on the cheese if you’ve got catchy tunes, then I won’t care. I mean I loved “Mamma Mia” and that show features a chorus line of guys wearing flippers and snorkel masks—but they’re dancing around to “Lay All Your Love On Me” so it’s awesome. But other than the first song, the songs in this musical suck. Suck and in some cases go on too long. And if you have a great singer like Laura Bell Bundy and don’t give her even one good song to belt out, that is a crime. Actually, Legally Blonde: The Ballad is kind of sweet, but still, the lyrics are a little painful. Something like “How silly of me / trying to be / legally blonde.” Which is basically what I was expecting anyway, so again, I could have forgiven it. But I was already cringing, so it was easy to continue.

Upon closer inspection of the program, I see that the most impressive credit of the lyrics and music team to date is Bat Boy: The Musical. I think that’s the problem right there. Although there are a lot of clever lines and clever lyrics sprinkled in there, there are also the above huge missteps. I don’t know if they can fix the show before it hits Broadway, apart from hiring a songwriter to write a handful of new songs, but they should try. Maybe people will like it. After all, all of the fourteen-year-old-girls in the audience seemed to love it.

So what the hell do I know?

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe watch "The Threepenny Opera" next. That has good lyrics and music!
-Ian

9:20 AM  
Blogger K said...

Oh, deary, deary, deary me.

Not that I've seen Legally Blonde. But this doesn't sound like an enjoyable evening.

1:46 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

This made me laugh out loud. GREAT review. Let's hope someone Important With The Show finds it and takes all of this under careful consideration!

2:30 PM  
Blogger JennaCourtier said...

I agreed with the majority of the statements made about it. I'm glad to hear your opinion on it. It's nice to hear from someone who has actually been there and seen it.

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How was Miss America 1997, Kate Shindle?

8:54 PM  
Blogger mo pie said...

I thought Kate Shindle was really great--but they didn't really give her enough to do.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ireland? I don't see you're point?
I suppose she should dancing the horah? or the polk? or the lambadah? or the waltz? Who cares? Social Prejudiced Radneck. Lousy review.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG. I loved this play.

I am a 14 year old girl though, so that's why.

However, there's a diffrence between liking something and saying that it's good or bad. You're saying that this play sucks, which it doesn't. It's like saying that Mozart sucks just because you don't like him. But he really doesn't suck. You just don't like him.

The play was good, and I liked it.

4:18 PM  
Blogger mo pie said...

I don't know how many musicals you've seen, but I've seen a lot of Broadway musicals, and this one does, in fact, suck.

I like plenty of things that suck, and I dislike plenty of things that are great, and I know the difference. In this case, I both hated it and have ascertained, scientifically, that it sucks.

I'm glad you enjoyed it though!

4:24 PM  
Blogger kendel said...

The show might have been bad before it hit broadway, but I saw it on broadway and I LOVED it! So, much that I am going back.

Don't bash shows. Do you have anything better to do than put other peoples work down? Obsviously not. You might have found it bad, but my take on it was that it gives you something to sit back and laugh about. The Ireland scene where she diescovers his middle name is Bredon and hes from Ireland is funny simply becasuse its random and stupid. Learn to laugh at things and understand them in a differnt way rather than critizing.

And by the way there are good songs like Laura Bell's "So Much Better" number. And Kate Shindle's Legally Blonde Remix.

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Kendel. For god's sake, it's a musical version of Legally Blonde! Of course there is going to be corny jokes and random moments, but that doesn't make it a bad play. I personally loved it.

5:40 PM  

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